Godiva (Monodrama for Mezzo Soprano and Piano on a Libretto by Caitlin Vincent)

by Juliana Hall

If you would like to use our texts and translations, please click here for more information.


Godiva (Monodrama for Mezzo Soprano and Piano on a Libretto by Caitlin Vincent)
English source: Caitlin Vincent

Men have a talent for invention.
With a simple stroke of a quill,
they redact, revise, mischaracterize.
I have lived a thousand years
in the written thoughts of men.
A thousand years.
Not as flesh but as myth.


No one remembers the ‘why.’
The ‘how.’
Even the ‘who.’
All they recall:
Lady Godiva naked on a horse.
Lady Godiva naked. . . and chocolate.

_[with frustration]_

Is it worse to be forgotten than to be misremembered?
I am tired of the stories.
How they linger on my hair, my sex, my skin.
I am Godiva.
Not a victim or a fool.
Or a vessel for men’s desire.
Just a woman who made a choice.


My husband was greedy.
Always demanding more tax.
Even when the people would starve.
I pleaded.
Until he finally broke.
“I will lower the tax,
when _you_ ride naked through the town.”
He thought to weaken my resolve.
As if he didn’t know me at all.
But I stripped off my robe.
Unbound my hair.
Veiled my body in sunlight.
And rode my horse through the square.
I reveled in my gown of sun.
Then turned for home.


Forget the stories you’ve read.
The legend you’ve heard.
Remember _this_ Godiva.
Not the myth... but me.

The text GODIVA is used by permission of the author, Caitlin Vincent, copyright © 2019


Juliana Hall

Juliana Hall is an American composer of art songs and vocal chamber music. Read more here.


Previously performed at:

Help us with a Donation

Enjoying our texts and translations? Help us continue to offer this service to all.

Make a Donation

Select Tickets